Cyprus blocks EU-Canada trade deal over halloumi cheese

Aug 1, 2020

The parliament of EU member state Cyprus has voted against ratifying a free trade deal between Europe and Canada, arguing it does not adequately protect Cypriot goods such as halloumi cheese, regional media reported on Saturday.

Thirty-seven lawmakers voted against and 18 in favour of ratifying the deal in Friday’s vote, with opposition coming from the left-wing AKEL party and the Socialists, state broadcaster RIK said.

The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the EU and Canada is designed to facilitate the export of goods and services, benefiting consumers and businesses.

The deal is already provisionally in force but must be ratified by all 28 member states to take full effect.

Halloumi, a semi-hard cheese often made from a blend of goat and sheep’s milk, is one of the national dishes of Cyprus and is exported in large quantities.

The Cypriot opposition is reportedly also arguing that CETA will strengthen multinational companies and lead smaller producers to disaster.

Government officials said on Saturday that Nicosia would try to negotiate some exemptions for Cypriot products before the agreement is resubmitted to parliament for approval at a later date.